There's a reason I tend to score the best vintage finds. It's because one of my most tried-and-true design tips is actually pretty simple: Always add something vintage. Adding something old and...
Season 2 Episode 15: Respect the Tiki
The Home Owners
John and Kim
John and Kim love tiki. It is their passion, their hobby, and their lifestyle. They have a dog named “Tiki.” They have tiki furniture, murals, art, and dishware. They are fully aware that they may have overdone it and they’re ok with that! That said, they wanted help making their home feel mature, intentional, and functional, with tiki as an accent of the design instead of the foundation for it.
I wanted to give John and Kim the basics of a beautiful home complete with tropical landscaping, fresh paint, an open floor plan, and new wood floors that felt solid and classic. Once the classic, mid-century inspired design was complete, THEN we could start adding in the tiki accents, making it feel like home. It is really difficult to incorporate collections into a design without it feeling kitshy, so the approach I took with this home was to give them a well-considered design foundation with lots of warm, organic, beach-inspired accents that they could take and add their tiki flair to moving forward, but in a more elevated and curated manner.
S2 E15 Exterior BA
When we started, the exterior of this house looked dated and even a little neglected due to the overgrown landscaping and dreary paint color. The perimeter fence was too heavy and closed-off for the scale of the home. It gave no sense of the open, friendly, fun-loving couple who lived inside. Now the home looks bright and inviting, with a dip-dyed paint concept in a cheery yellow color. The new, whimsical and more open fencing concept and a friendly looking new front patio make the house inviting. A gorgeous, vintage atomic style wooden front door was just the pop of character this house needed. Other atomic-modern accents, like a bright blue metal mailbox and a classic, atomic-style brass entry sconce hint at the specific tastes of these homeowners. And the paired down landscape still feels lush and tropical without feeling overgrown or neglected.
S2 E15 Exterior
Special Project | Tiki Door: The homeowners had purchased this second-hand door from a local thrift store, but it was too big of a project for them to hang it. It needed some refinishing, so I called Micah from Girelli Woodworking to help remove the old, chipped wood veneer and turn this door into the unique beauty it was meant to be. Now, it’s the centerpiece of the exterior design, hinting at the unique interior to be found inside.
S2 E15 Kitchen BA
Before, this kitchen was tiny, dated and closed off from the rest of the house. Afterwards, with the removal of the living room wall (and the addition of a SERIOUS new support beam), and of the heavy cabinets hoovering over the peninsula, the kitchen has become a bright, open and quirkily tasteful space with unique accents at every turn. (BTW, I didn’t actually think “quirkily” was a word, but it’s not spell checking me, so I’m gonna roll with it.)
We used Acacia Luxury Vinyl Flooring (LVF) from Lumber Liquidators to bring in the feeling of rich, tropical wood.
Cabinets & Hardware
In the reveal, it was so funny when Kim saw the kitchen and said, “OMG, it’s two-tone! I love it…no, but wait, it’s THREE tone. I love it even more!” I may be paraphrasing a bit, but that’s the gist, and she was right. There are three cabinet finishes in this kitchen, giving it one more cabinet finish than I’ve ever done in a kitchen before. With a neutral gray-blue island, white, flat-front perimeters, and rich, tropical wood toned, flat-front uppers, this kitchen gives new meaning to the saying, “good things come in threes.” (I think that’s they saying, isn’t it?) We saved the owners’ old atomic hardware for reuse, and paired them with simple, brushed nickel cabinet pulls. (Cabinets: Madrigal Custom Cabinetry)
Plumbing & Appliances
We used classic, brushed nickel plumbing fixtures and the COOLEST stainless steel Ruvati sink. The sink has a perimeter lip that allows various accessories to sit perfectly on top, such as a drying rack, cutting board, and basket strainer. For appliances, we kept it simple with a stainless steel suite, allowing us to play with some quirky materials in other areas.
Countertops & Backsplash
Now, I know I can get more excited than most about a good countertop, but seriously, how amazing are these terrazzo-look beauties? These conglomerate countertops fit this home’s atomic-modern style to a T, feeling both beachy and mid-mod at the same time. The glass subway tile backsplash is a modern take on a kitchen classic, feeling just the right amount of funky to be able to get down with the rest of this cool cat of a kitchen. (Countertops: Marble Yard; Backsplash: Floor and Decor)
Lighting, Furniture, & Accessories
The trio of pendants above the island feels simultaneously mid-mod and current, while warm, organic materials such as leather and rattan tap into the tiki vibe. Tropical plants and floral arrangements also tip the scales towards the tiki.
S2 E15 Kitchen
Before, this entryway was dark and non-descript. Now, open to the entire house, and offering up some serious tiki credibility (custom wallpaper from the artist, Shag; vintage, atomic-modern front door), this room offers the perfect introduction to both the home and the homeowners.
Special Project | Shag Wallpaper: I visited local, world-famous artist, Shag, at his mid-mod home in Southern California. Initially, I went hoping for a signed print and a cool story to bring back to the homeowners. I left with his permission to use a custom-designed wall paper only ever before used in Shag’s own home. Some days I just can’t believe the crazy cool things I get to do for my job!!
The Living Room
S2 E15 Living Room BA
Before, this living room was suffering from college-apartment-itis, with it’s photographic mural of a white sand beach, black leather furniture, and it’s larger than life tiki bar set-up. The homeowners had a theme and they were sticking to it. It wasn’t my job to dis that, just to help them elevate their passion to the next level of aesthetic appeal. Tiki-Chic, one might say. Or, Elevated Tiki. Or maybe Deconstructed Tiki? What do you think?
By updating the finishes, refreshing the fireplace, and removing the wall between the living room and kitchen, I was able to open up the floor plan and modernize the entire space. Three-paneled sliding glass doors that open out onto a pea gravel and terrazzo paver patio are the icing on top of the hand-carved tiki statues. (If one were inclined to put icing on top of a tiki statue, that is.)
S2 E15 Living Room
Special Project | Fireplace Refresh: Before, this fireplace was purposely hidden behind a giant, hand-carved tiki bar. The scale of the tiki bar was too large for the room, and the owners opted to sell it. Fortunately, we were able to update the fireplace and turn it into the true centerpiece of the room. By continuing the hearth all the way to the wall, updating the hearth tiles with a clean, modern, white porcelain material, and installing a custom, hard-carved, epoxy-finished mantle piece reminiscent of the old tiki bar, we took this fireplace from insta-shame to insta-fame. (Mantle by Giovanni of Prodigy Builders)
The Dining Room
The dining room received an easy facelift. Simply changing the color of the walls and updating the furniture did wonders for the space, along with making sure the room’s design was in line with the rest of the home.
S2 E15 Dining Room
Special Project | Elevated Tiki: We wanted to remove the bulky cabinet housing John and Kim’s prized tiki mug collection, but needed a clever way to keep these items on display. We came up with the idea of a floating shelf that bordered the entire room, allowing full view of the collection, while keeping the mugs safe and out of reach. This quirky shelving project is a true testament to our elevated tiki style. (Shelf built by Zack, Old Tech Design)
Shop the Look
This project could not have been made possible without our amazing vendors as well:
General Contractor: Well Done Build Co | Glass Windows in Front of House: California Window Masters | Front Door Finish: Girelli Woodworking | Fireplace Mantle: Prodigy Builders | Epoxy on Mantle: Reynolds Advanced Materials | Wallpaper and Signed Art in Kitchen: Shag | Floating Display Shelf in Kitchen: Old Tech Design | Furniture Staging: Old Bones Design | Wallpaper Printing: Astek | Countertops in Kitchen: Marble Yard